BY TONY FARINA
This newspaper has learned at press time that all cases currently assigned to State Supreme Court Justice John Michalek are being reassigned to other judges in the Eighth Judicial District.
Michalek and longtime political operative Steve Pigeon are currently the focus of a special grand jury convened by the state attorney general following the seizure last May of email records from Pigeon’s computer during a raid at his waterfront condominium.
Legal sources say the reassignment of Michalek’s cases to other judges underscores the serious nature of the grand jury probe of both Michalek and Pigeon which is ongoing.
Sources say both men are being targeted for the emails seized last year that relate to the possible efforts of Michalek to help find a job for his son with Pigeon’s help.
Pigeon is represented by former Atty. Gen. Dennis Vacco and noted defense attorney Paul Cambria. Michalek has retained a former New York prosecutor under U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to represent him. He had been represented by prominent Buffalo defense attorney Joel Daniels.
Sources say the grand jury had been putting in witnesses for the last two weeks and that process reportedly is not yet completed. The lengthy process could mean the probe has expanded or that prosecutors are leaving no stone unturned in the case.
We received news of the Michalek reassignments at press time and there was no time to get responses although two attorneys have confirmed that Michalek’s cases are being taken from his calendar.